Don't Let Go of the Potato -- Comic Storytelling from Rural Louisiana
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The last date listed for Don't Let Go of the Potato was Friday April 6, 2007 / 8:00pm.
Currently at The Marsh San Francisco MainStage Theater
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Politicians and comedians have long been on opposite sides of the fence, but Tom Ammiano is both… More
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Marni DeWittRed Velvet
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This was a captivating, personal memoir of the actor's youth from 6th grade through high school. It was very interesting to have a window into his experiences and how he escaped from a troubled life. It kept my interest the entire show.
Ranging from serious to slapstick, Don’t Let Go of the Potato chronicles LeJeune’s childhood spent in the heart of Cajun country. At age 11, he’s hiding in the sugar cane fields, praying his father won’t discover he’s failing school and refusing to wear the pink shirts his mother has bought him. By 17, he’s drinking hard, fighting grown men, and practically shacked-up with his true love, Kelly, in a trailer home. LeJeune explores misguided religion, familial alcoholism, loyal friendship, and the transformative power of being average.
His limber shifts in voice and gesture capture the poetry of the region, portraying a rich cast of characters: a disgruntled, broken father who drunkenly stalks his demons; a cane-farming uncle with misguided lessons on how to be a man; Ms. Mestayer, the prim sixth-grade teacher whose failing mark on LeJeune’s report card sets off a hilarious and heart-wrenching chain of events; buddies T-Roy and Shrimp bumbling alongside him in various triumphs and scrapes such as meeting girls at the town-hall social, tipping over porta-potties, and instigating violent brawls; and even a lone turtle at the edge of a swamp.
LeJeune left his Cajun homeland of New Iberia, Louisiana, 10 years ago and moved to San Francisco, where he began weaving together the stories of his upbringing in the bayou. Working in the rich tradition of Southern gothic storytelling, LeJeune conjures up colorful, oddball characters and spins them into comic vignettes.
This 90-minute production marks the official full-scale premiere of a piece LeJeune originated as part of The Marsh’s 2005/2006 Performance Initiative, an intensive solo-performance workshop created to nurture up-and-coming theater artists of particular promise, and helmed by artistic director Stephanie Weisman, director David Ford (widely regarded as San Francisco’s foremost developer of solo performance), and playwright/performer Charlie Varon.
LeJeune began performing onstage at the University of Louisiana in Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play. His San Francisco credits include Maria Irene Fornes’s Mud at the Intersection for the Arts (1998), Z_ero Stimuli_ at Theatre Rhinoceros (2000), and a scene-stealing performance in the locally produced feature film Water Under the Bridge (Warner Bros., 2005). Over the past year LeJeune has also workshopped Don’t Let Go of the Potato at the Julia Morgan Theatre in Berkeley in conjunction with The Marsh.